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An Ewok Movie Sequel?:
The Battle For Endor!

Matt - 8.15.01


I should probably kick off this article, my return post after more than a month of vacationing at the tropical Easter Island, with mentioning that I'm more drunk than Traci Lords on her various honeymoons with 65 year old philanthropists or finding out that her best role was in The Tommyknockers. I mention this not to give a caustic reason to the proceeding spelling errors, but rather by necessity: the movie I'm about to review takes roughly 320 ounces of alcohol to make it through without grabbing the nearest sock and finding a way to kill yourself with it. George Lucas has done a lot for me - great movies, great toys, and let me tell you, the guy can shake that pelvis like a backup dancer from Saturday Night Fever. But when it comes to a limited budget and made-for-television flicks, you may as well rename him Satan and call all of his blind followers pushers for mass murder. On this night, we delve deep into a cinematic experience best left for those who don't deserve anything worthwhile in their lives. Tonight, we take the plunge into a movie which defies the common balances of order and chaos, altogether forgetting the one simple goal of any entertainment medium: to entertain. On this most special of nights, we review, without any future warning, the sequel...to the Ewok Adventure.


Ewoks: The Battle For Endor

Yes, believe it or not, forgoing any higher brain function, the higher-ups at Lucasflim actually put the okay on a sequel the awful Ewok Adventure movie. Now, that one, which we've reviewed here in semi-haste, was bad enough...but this time, the script and general plot was such a mess that not even God himself could save it. And by God, I obviously mean Wilford Brimley. Yes, somehow, they managed to rope the star of Cocoon and various saucy Quaker Oats commercials into serving as the marquee star for one of the worst films of all time. Not even Wilford, a proven movie commodity, could save this from the pit of shit it was destined to become. My only regret is that I didn't realize how bad and banal this all was upon my initial viewing. Cut me some slack, I was only six years old. Still, seeing it again today, I can't help but realize George Lucas' ideas were mostly a result of casual Melatonin morning overdoses. How he could throw his sacred fingerprints all over this and feign those proud emotions totally baffle me. This flick ain't just bad - it's downright insulting.

I'm going to avoid railing on it any further, let's just jump into the review. Trust me: by simply describing what's going on in the pictures to follow, I'm railing on the movie enough. Maybe Lucas secretly anticipated a slew of cynical movie review websites popping up, and he creating this festival of pain just to get his name in the papers on both sides of the spectrum. Either way, let's join Wilford and a bunch of fuzzy midgets in progress. If you haven't seen the first movie...well, congratulations. Two and a half hours of your life we spent much better than they could've been. Now let's see if we can pull that tally up to five hours.


I'm including the pictures above simply as visual aids to remind you of the warning signals of impending annoyance if you continue viewing your television set. Other surefire warnings would include any cameo appearances by Meshach Taylor and a theme song that prominently features references to 'making it grand.' Heed my warnings, I know what I'm talking about.

Alright, let's roll. It's been awhile since I've written, so I'm likely a bit rusty. Fortunately, when the material you're working with includes a guy wearing the worst demon suit ever screaming 'find me that child!' thirty-seven times in succession, this stuff seems to just write itself.


Meet Cindel - she's the star of the Ewok movies. Which is kind of like bragging about taking the stinkiest shits, or patting yourself on the back for being the only person in your social circle who can't tie knots. Either way, that's her. In the first movie, she and her family crashed on the Ewoks' home planet of Endor, and they've been stuck there ever since. These would be pretty lonely times if there wasn't a horde of cute half-naked bears running around to entertain 'em.

Cindel immediately struck rapport with Wickett, whom you'll all remember as the little Ewok who was really afraid of Princess Leia's hat in Return of the Jedi. Time's been pretty good to the bastard, as he's now able to talk. Star Wars fans, you haven't lived till you've heard an Ewok speak. Oddly, Wickett delivers his lines with twice the power and believability as Cindel, but we can't fault her for that, no real human could buy into this God awful script anyway. While the film is pretty low budget by Lucasfilm standards, they lucked out by having all the old ROTJ Ewok costumes laying around -- they still look as close to a real Ewok as they could get, considering that there aren't really real Ewoks. I'm not sure if I should ask you to repeat what I've just said three times fast, or simply apologize for saying it to begin with. Moving on, there's trouble ahead...


ENDOR ABLAZE!!! See, when the Rebels visited Endor in order to defeat the Imperial forces, they were so busy fighting Stormtroopers in chicken walkers that nobody noticed the huge legion of devil monsters wearing Prince of Thieves costumes running around wreaking havoc. These fellows are lovingly referred to as the Marauders, and that's a direct title from the Star Wars Encyclopedia, which cost me a mere forty bucks. Money well spent - I always wondered what these guys collectively referred to themselves as. Until I got that book, all I could do was guess...'Space Pirates?' 'Squad of Evil?' 'Team Terror?' Nope: Marauders. They're lead by the amazingly non-pacifistic Terak, who can best be described as a cross between Skeletor and those special kids from elementary school who always seemed to get extra time in the playground sessions. Backing him up is Charal, the Elvira-like witch with the power to morph into a crow. How she ended up with a bunch of zombie pirates isn't explained, but that's probably for the best, since all signs pretty obviously point to gangbang orgies the likes of which we haven't experienced since that whole Smurfette's-the-only-girl-in-the-entire-village fiasco.

Believe it or not, these goofs are a huge step up from the villain of the first Ewok movie: a 40' tall ogre who kept parents in hanging cages for no apparent reason. The Marauders make short work of the Ewok Village, which seems to have relocated from high in the trees to ground level strictly by matter of convenience. They kill off Cindel's mother and brother right away, which certainly was a shock for me way back then. Cindel's bro - Mace - got the Luke Skywalker push in the first movie...pretty surprising to see him nail three lines before getting shot to death here. Not that I'm complaining, it's embarrassing enough to know this movie was made without the added grief of realizing it starred people other than children, midgets, and Wilford Brimley.


Hey, it's Principal Vernon! Banner year at the ol' Bender household this Christmas! Yeah, he plays Cindel's dad, and yeah, he dies too. It doesn't take long for Cindel herself to get captured along with all the other people under four feet tall. I guess Marauders only feel the need to immediately annihilate those who run the risk of buying the same size pants they might want before they have a chance to steal enough cash to afford 'em. I dunno, they don't explain much so we've really got to theorize our way through this.

Cindel's dad offers some bittersweet parting words before sending off his little sprite, and it just might have been touching if Cindel showed any remorse for her family's death whatsoever in the rest of the film. Those Ewoks must be like human catnip or something, cuz even with all this shit going on, the girl's still more jovial than Chewbacca when someone uses the word 'nerfherder' around him. Oh who gives a fuck...the movie wasn't gonna win any accolades even if Cindel cared about her family dying. Why waste the emotion? The girl hates that mirror - it makes her feel so worthless. She's an original sinner...but when she's with Wickett, she couldn't care less.


The Marauders torch the place and stuff all the Ewoks into little prisons that're fastened to big lizard beasts of burden. How these giant lizards ended up on the forest planet of Endor is one for the scholars, not me. Cindel and Wickett, the two smallest captives, are able to escape through the hedonistically spaced-out bars...but even with freedom on their side, they're all alone...no family, no Ewoks, no nothing. But with a slight twist of fate, this movie could've taken on a weird sort of anti-Jungle Fever angle, but thankfully, our heroes' relationship remains dutifully platonic. On camera, anyway.


Cindel and Wickett happen upon yet another ugly forest creature, only this time, it's friendly. His name is Teek, and aside from looking like the type of thing you'd aim your car at at all costs, he's a kindhearted soul who moves really quickly and wants nothing more than to help. Cindel and Wickett are hungry and alone, and you know what they say...beggars can't be choosers. Teek absolutely isn't their first choice for a mandatory third wheel, but he promises them food, so they do their best to tolerate his face for as long as it takes to fill their sophomoric bellies.

Teek takes them to a supposedly abandoned little shanty - a small affair loaded with tools and other junk. Cindel marvels at the idea that she and Wickett could live there and start a family, but she doesn't realize that this house didn't just sprout up from the ground like some sort of mythical beanstalk with doors, windows, and the inexplicable guitar. Somebody lives there. Somebody very special lives there.


Wilford. Brimley. The third? Wilford plays Noah, a crusty old guy who doesn't like nosy beggars sticking their begging noses in his crusty old business. Quaker Oats. Noah immediately throws the two out and admonishes Teek for letting 'em in. Cindel is really disappointed before Wickett reminds her of the bright side: she doesn't have the girl from The Haunting's nose. Things could be a lot worse.

Noah's overstated rudeness is mostly a ruse: he secretly coerces Teek into bringing the two beggars biscuits, and generally keeps feigning hatred until dragging the two back into his house and forming little cozy beds for them by filling burlap sacks with his very own leg hair. Well, he doesn't really do that, but he does become more of a father figure to Cindel and Wickett over the span of the next few minutes. I guarandamntee you that Wilford vomits at least three times a week when memories of filming this strike. There's only so many times he can employ the old 'I had to put food on the table!' excuse before he breaks down into tears and admits that he thought he was signing a contract to play Mr. Strickland in Back To The Future. Fine print, Wilford - always read the FINE PRINT! Now the poor guy can never become president. No matter what he does - no matter how many great accolades he accumulates, no matter how wondrous his successes become...he'll always have to look in the mirror and know that he played Noah in the second Ewok television movie. And it's not like he can look at the rest of the cast to share some of the grief. Cindel was played by Aubree Miller, who has never been seen since these movies came out. I'd call that a coincidence, but I think it's pretty evident that someone found and executed her for it. And Teek? Well, the person who played him, Niki Botelho, also had an esteemed movie career. He played the Emperor Penguin in Batman Returns. I'm not kidding. We're really working with an all-star ensemble here.

Oops, time to talk about Cindel's dream sequence:


Ahhhh!

When Cindel sleeps, Cindel dreams. And if your entire family was just killed by walking dead pirate zombies from Hell, your dreams aren't beds of roses, let me tell you. Cindel subversively fantasizes that the Marauders are invading Noah's house, going as far as infiltrating his sacred bed. I'm pretty sure I'd be less scared finding Terak under my sheets than Wilford Brimley, but watching the poor slug make the boogieman face for thirteen seconds with the added bonus of an extreme camera closeup pulls this movie away from being in the worst three I've ever seen to a slightly more esteemed position among the worst ten.

Looking back, I'm not sure why Lucas didn't stick the family in this dream sequence. I mean, they go through all the trouble of reassembling the entire cast from the first movie just to kill them off without so much as a small dance number or a reiteration of Mace's love for Endor fireflies? Especially when you've got such a cinematic svengali like Principal Vernon bumbling around the soundstage - how can you resist not throwing him into a few extra scenes? Freakin' Alec Guiness got 5+ years more than his lifespan in ghost form...why can't Cindel's father be an apparition of faith?

Frig it, why do I care? Nobody else does.


Noah does his best to make Cindel feel better about her nightmare and fleeting memories of her family by insisting that they're all 'still with her.' No, Noah - they're not still with her. They're dead. Unless she's like that little chick from Interview With The Vampire and keeps their dead, rotting corpses around the house, they're definitely not with her. I'm sorry, but I refuse to accept anything that comes out of Wilford's mouth as poetic, and will only take what he says in the literal sense. I should mention that of all the scenes in the film, this is by far the one you should break out the morphine for to watch. Painful, painful, painful. Just when you think it can't get any worse, Noah persuades Cindel to start singing. Only, she's not really singing...she's talking in semi-verses while experiencing what seems to be a fit of narcolepsy.

Notwithstanding that, check out Noah's outfit. The only person in the entire Star Wars universe who wears glasses. They wouldn't even let Sebastian Shaw get away with that one. Just proves the kind of star power and pull Brimley carries along with him.


Moving on, Charal appears as an angel who's memorized all of Cindel's dead mother's favorite songs as a way to lure her in for the big catch. See, Terak's under the impression that some form of 'power' is loose on Endor. And well...he wants it. I'm not sure how this comes to fruition in the film's gloriously subdued script, but Terak decides that Cindel knows how to get him the power - which he feels is inside a standard starship power converter. Marauders are idiots. Everyone knows that the real power's in Stan Bush songs.

Anyway, Charal kidnaps the kid and runs off, prompting Noah and the gang to take charge....


I just wanted to say that this scene, which features Noah suiting up in preparation for Cindel's rescue, would've come off with a lot more impact if they had the theme from the A-Team playing in the background.


Charal presents Cindel, and Terak politely requests 'the power.' Cindel has no idea what he's talking about, and quite frankly, neither do I. Terak gets so pissed off about all this that he throws both of them into his castle dungeon, citing that if 'the power' isn't made available to him by sunrise, he'll kill them both and eat their entrails. Actually, the part about the entrails was really just implied, but make no bones about it: if Cindel isn't saved from this hellhole soon, she won't be there to save at all later. At this point, I fantasized about Terak simply shooting her dead between the eyes with an arrow, followed by the word 'Finite' popping on the screen in pink cursive, followed by the end credits, followed by me collecting the ten dollars on a bet I made with my rabbit that I couldn't get through this flick without ripping off my cuticles as a form of self-punishment.

I dunno though...as a big Star Wars fan, it's pretty hard for me to take the threat of Terak seriously, since he looks just like all those goofs who worked Jabba's sail barges and who posed no problems to anyone whatsoever. He's a big fish in a small pond here. It's like finding out Nikto is going to have the marquee villain status in the next prequel. Just doesn't feel quite right.


Charal: Well, this is a fine mess you've gotten us into.
Cindel: Me?! You're the one who kidnapped and brought me here. It's all your fault.
Charal: But enough about that - we may as well entertain ourselves.
Cindel: How?
Charal: I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 56.
Cindel: 8?
Charal: See?!!! I knew you had the power, you liar!!!
Cindel: What, what? I only said 8 because it rhymes with ape. Monkeys remind me of Wickett.
Charal: So how's that Noah character? Good in the sack?
Cindel: All I'm gonna say is that the hair missing from his head is probably still stuck under my clawing fingernails. Wowza.
Charal: That's pretty sick, Cindel.
Cindel: I'm a pretty sick girl, Vampirella.

Noah, Wickett, and Teek make their way to the castle, kicking off what's gotta be some of the worst action sequences since Johnny Sokko and his giant robot fought off a giant, menacing purple octopus. I'm not going to recap this part of the film, since it's really just a blur of Ewoks hitting Marauders with boulders and logs, Marauders throwing piles of metal at Ewoks, and Noah running around the castle with keys. If I'm not mistaken, they actually use stock footage of the fight scenes from ROTJ. I guess the midgets they hired for this flick weren't of the action midget variety.


Noah frees Cindel, and all the Ewoks escape by using a primitive pulley system through a convenient hole in the side of the castle. By the way, the moat surrounding the place bubbles and eats people. Just thought I'd mention it. Terak isn't so easily swayed from evil, so he gathers the remaining few of his troops and storms briskly into the forest, in search of blood, and of course, the power.


It's not quite Obi-Wan and Vader, eh?

Okay, let me set this up for you before delivering the climactic scene. Earlier in the film, when Terak went all medieval on Charal, he took away the ring that gave her the ability to morph into a crow. Since the ring hosted such a stunning red ruby, he opted to put it on a chain, throw it around his neck, and walk around as the gaudiest pirate this side of Waterworld. While he and Noah are doing their little sword battle, which doesn't make much sense because Terak's had a gun in all previous scenes, Noah lucks out and strikes the ring with his weapon. Now, I'm admittedly no expert on what happens when one smacks a ring that turns people into crows with a sword, but I never would've believed this could happen:


The ring turns Terak red, and burns him to death. I swear, if you listen closely enough, you can hear even the Ewoks muttering something about a 'copout'. Still, this was pretty graphic for what was by all means a kids' movie, so I've got no complaints. Well, just one: why didn't Terak just drop the ring when it started glowing red and making his body temperature rise above the boiling point? Maybe he didn't initially make the connection between the glowing ring and the heat wave, and just thought he was finally getting some of that southern exposure sun Endor is famous for. Either way, his death signals the end of any real villainous threat in the movie.

Oh, remember how Terak thought that simple power converter would give him godlike powers? He was wrong, but the thing was valuable. With it, Noah and Cindel can finally fly off this Ewok haven and get back to conversing with people who don't lick their assholes after taking a shit. That's the real feel good ending.


Noah says goodbye to Wickett and Teek. He doesn't really have much to say to Wickett, so he spews out some tripe about how he's a brave and honorable Ewok in a sequence that could've been made all the better if it was just a clever ruse to stick a Kick Me sign on the thing's back. Teek, who's been Noah's best friend throughout his tenure on the forest moon, was a little tougher to say goodbye to. Afterall, this little freak stood by Noah through thick and thin, put up with his sour moods, massaged his feet, the whole nine yards. On the flipside, Noah takes private salvation in knowing that his next best friend won't be a three foot furry dwarf with stalagmite teeth. Finally, the big galloot gives in and they hug, proving once and for all that real men don't need to reserve themselves to simply shaking hands. Take it from Wilford.


Cindel says her goodbyes as well, telling Wickett for the 5,667th time that he's her best friend. I'm not kidding...throughout this flick, Cindel informs Wickett of this after every statement and in every capacity. I know he's just an Ewok, but Christ girl, I think he got the picture two hours ago when you kept repeating it like it was some Earth Magick spell. Wickett offers his thoughts by repeating whatever the last word Cindel said was in his cute little Ewok voice. Then, she boards the shuttle, starts crying, and the humans fly off into space, never to return to Endor as far as we're concerned.


Overall: Compared to most any other movie, this is brutal. Compared to the first Ewok movie, it's almost passable. The effects were pretty good for 80s television flicks...there was enough of a Star Wars vibe to keep fans interested despite the banal dialogue and poor acting. In truth, if anyone but Wilford Brimley played Noah, this would be a complete and total waste of time. The guy made Our House seem watchable, he's obviously a deity. All in all, if you're a Star Wars fan, check this out...but even as a comedic curiosity, this one just doesn't have enough substance to recommend to anyone else.

To conclude tonight's party, my favorite three Ewok figures:


Teebo: If you scramble around the letters of his name, you get 'Be Toe'. Secret feet messages rock, and so do Ewoks who come with purses and stickhorses.

Lumat: From the rare POTF series, Lumat had this look on this face that clearly told the story: yeah, he's an Ewok...but he's not proud of it. He's the rogue Ewok - too smart for the village, too furry for Coruscant. Caught between two worlds, the only way he can cope with his twisted fate is by trying to cook Chewbacca.

Chief Chirpa: Since the Wickett figure was impossible to find when I was a kid, I always had to pretend Chirpa was my favorite Ewok. The reality of the situation was that Chirpa lead the Ewoks to victory on Endor, using his unique blend of finger-pointing and horn-blowing. I'd suggest that the other Ewoks listened to him only because he had really scary looking black eyes. You can't say no to a demon.

Later, time to wash my popsicle stick Ewok Village down with teak oil.

- Matt
matt@x-entertainment.com
The Force
AIM: xecharchar


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